Telair’s Flexible Loading System (FLS) has received certification for all current production and in-service Boeing 737 aircraft. The FLS enables operators to carry containerized cargo, such as mail and parcel freight, in the lower hold of an aircraft with bulk-loaded bags.
The certification comes in advance of plans for commercial aviation lessor GECAS to offer FLS in the 30 737-800 freighter conversions it announced a commitment to at the 2017 Paris Airshow. According to Anders Helmner, Telair’s President and CEO, the company will work with GECAS and its customers to install the system in the second quarter of this year.
The FLS includes Telair’s EDGE Sliding Carpet, which is an on-board conveyor system for loading and unloading bulk cargo. In addition to the Sliding Carpet, which the company says is about 40% lighter than existing variants, the FLS also contains new specially-designed containers and a new powered doorway ball mat, which is used to transfer the containers from standard ground handling equipment to the Sliding Carpet. All three components use what Telair describes as state-of-the-art materials to achieve low weight and extreme durability.
According to Richard Greener, GECAS’ SVP and manager, cargo aircraft group, the FLS allows the containers to be preloaded and screened at the cargo sort before being brought on board an aircraft using existing bulk loading equipment. “This system improves loading efficiency and adds flexibility, especially for Combination, Express and Ecommerce operators,” says Greener. “The new system enables them to interline the Telair containers and reduce bulk loading times.”
With air freight traffic on the upswing, the FLS could help make newer 737s a more viable conversion candidate. According to Aviation Week’s Commercial Fleet & MRO Forecast, there are 93 projected deliveries of passenger-to-freighter conversions of Boeing 737NG family aircraft between 2018-27.